The Imperial War Museum London opened a ‘Holocaust Gallery’ in October 2021, and it contrasts previous exhibitions by presenting individuals as identifiable and ordinary people. The exhibition aims to provide a deeper understanding of the Holocaust by enabling the visitors to relate with the individuals portrayed.
For almost 40 years, throughout the Franco dictatorship, the Sección Femenina was the organisation in charge of controlling Spanish women. Every aspect of women’s lives were politicised in order to promote ideal femininity centred around motherhood and domesticity. This article will explore to what extent the Sección Femenina contributed to the creation of these gendered ideals, and to what extent these ideals were disempowering.
Without any parliamentary notice, the disgusting ‘Contagious Diseases Act’ was suddenly passed in 1864. Effectively ‘legalising’ prostitution and placing it under police control, it allowed the stop and search of any woman suspected of being a prostitute. Such a ‘search’ included a bodily examination, totally violating and humiliating anyone forced to participate.
To be a woman is not a place of neutrality. To be a woman in literature, to read of your body as a site of battles and uprisings, of famine and protest, destroys any sense of impartiality. There is a long-standing tradition of gendering the nation: the motherland, the mothership, the innate feminine sense of home. But what happens when this sense of gender becomes so deeply tied in with a sense of nation that the two have become almost inseparable?